Fox killed Firefly. Convergence brought it back.

I am basing my blogpost on the infamous television show, Firefly (2002), which began its seemingly short life on Fox, where the broadcasting television network did a horrendous job of creating a watchable environment for the television series, airing the episodes in the wrong order so the audience would find it near impossible to enjoy or understand the show. Due to the low views Fox had cancelled Firefly before they had even finished filming the first series and so it died, or did it?

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No it didn’t. The reason it didn’t die is because over the next few years Firefly gained a massive fanbase, full of passionate and understandably outraged audience members called the Browncoats. They worked with the creators and actors of Firefly, and together they made the film Serenity (2005), a follow on of the series.

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From both the television show and the movie came games, comic books, merchandise, forums, meetups and so many more channels of interest across the differing media forms.

Convergence saved Firefly, the Browncoats (including the creators) were given more of what they loved and felt a stronger connection to this fictional universe from the rebirth of the story.

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The Done the Impossible documentary (2006) captures this journey and is a wonderful, heart warming example of media convergence from the audiences point of view.

Internet Protocol Television…. Also known as Netflix

Watching TV shows and movies comfortably in bed or on the sofa is the new “going out”. More and more people everyday subscribes to Netflix or Apple TV or platforms like those which guarantee you to watch all the newest movies and the newest TV shows on your computer instead of buying DVDs or going to the cinema. This new method is called Internet Protocol Television. It seems quite obvious and not so new to us but actually it is not. The Internet Protocol Television was born in 1995 but it wasn’t that popular. In 2008 it started gaining success in the first world countries but it still hadn’t the importance it has now. With the invention of Netflix and Apple TV and Sky Go and all these we all know is now one of the things we can not live without. Actually Netflix started as a DVD-by-mail service in 1998, and became a streaming service only in 2007; now it has 75 million subscribers, its own TV shows and movies and streams in over 190 countries. To access its services you have to pay from 8$ to 12$ (in order to have the basic account or the premium with some more facilities) and you can watch everything you like at home. I find this invention one of the most interesting and useful and the perfect example of media convergence.

Radio from all parts of the world

 

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Internet radio is also called web radio, net radio, streaming radio, e-radio, online radio, webcasting and I consider this an example of convergence between the old media and the new one. This is an audio service transmitted via the Internet. Broadcasting on the Internet is usually referred to as webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means.

Internet radio involves streaming media, presenting listeners with a continuous stream of audio that typically cannot be paused or replayed, much like traditional broadcast media. I find this a disadvantage for consumers because they have the same experience as the traditional radio. On the opposing side, it is much easier to listen to radio on a computer than having a separate device for that. I believe that transitioning from regular streaming to an online one is an attempt to save the radio business. Over the last 5 to 7 years people only listen to radio when they are in a car, almost never at home, so internet radio is a more accessible way to listen to radio programmes and music.

Moreover, the biggest advantage of Internet radio is the fact that traditional radio transmitters are limited to around 100 miles or so, but webcasting has no geographic limits. Whereas currently, depending on the location, people may be able to tune in to about 50 stations, by utilising the web, this has effectively increased and it grants access to a vast broadcast spectrum, covering the entire planet. Internet radio is delivering more programming and more choices than ever before in the history of broadcasting! Internet radio is also distinct from podcasting, which involves downloading rather than streaming.

 

Links:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2015/mar/05/new-internet-radio-listen-bbc-stations

http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/The-Future-of-Internet-Radio-65318.aspx

http://www.robertsradio.co.uk/Choosing_your_radio/About_internet_radio.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_radio

The convenience of convergence

Before writing this post, I have spent some time researching and fully understanding this topic. So what is convergence in the field of media?  It is basically the interlinking of various media platforms which creates a more beneficial outcome for both- media platforms and the  audience. In fact, we, as the users of the media meet with convergence in this field rather often. For instance, newspapers that we read on a daily basis no longer have just the printed version- we can also access it easily through the internet, thus it makes it very convenient for people with busy lifestyles who often simply don’t have time to buy a regular printed newspaper, or for students that need to find information about a certain article quickly. Another example of convergence in media  would additionally be the television programme schedule. It is not only printed in many newspapers but is also available for online access. I believe that media convergence is a very useful thing that makes our lives somewhat easier and even more enjoyable you could say. While doing my research on this subject, I found the article that was suggested to us for further reading very thorough, with lots of examples and views upon this topic. Here is the name of it  once again for your convenience. You can additionally access it via google scholar.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.

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The New News Media

One example of media convergence would be the progression of news media from newspapers and broadcast to digital media and more specifically social media. Most news sources which started off as newspapers as far back as the invention of the printing press, such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Daily Telegraph, now have active social media. Many professional journalists now even have their own verified twitter accounts, where they are able through their contracts to tweet about events, sometimes linking back to their own articles, or even live tweet events as they happen. This transformation has resulted in people turning to the social media accounts of news sources on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to get their news, rather than turning directly to print newspapers or even in some cases source’s actual website, which in many cases can only be accessed by online subscription.

This is trend in news consumption is most prominent when people are looking to be updated on an ongoing event. For example, during the Paris Attacks, many people including myself heard about it initially from Twitter, and then remained updated on the situation by browsing the PrayForParis hashtag, where ordinary people and journalists currently in the city  live tweeted events while they happened, posting photos and videos, as well as reassuring loved ones and followers of their safety.

This convergence in part may be due to the speed with which news can be delivered through social media, whereas with print media and even digital news media there tends to be some length of delay. Though news sources release news as fast as possible, normally with the goal of being the first to report, there are natural delays due to the amount of time needed to fact check and the amount of time needed for articles to be approved by multiple superiors before publishing. It’s no secret that people today want instant gratification, and through news sources and journalists adapting to social media as a platform for reporting, it has become possible for people to receive their news instantly.

Radio as a visual experience?

We live in the times where the radio presenter can no longer be just the pleasant welcoming voice that we learn to recognise, they are also required to be a pleasant welcoming face. Thanks to the internet the radio now has a visual presence.

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I guess according to the BBC there are things in this world that cannot be described in words, so they opted for creating visual content for the radio (so that they no longer have to rely on the audience’s imagination to really get the joke).They have things such as live interviews and performances that can be streamed online, or re-watched later on in the week, all available for free on the BBC website. At first, personally, this seemed to defeat the point. The radio is a platform for audio entertainment solely isn’t it? However, after some consideration, it made sense to me; multi-platform productions are the future, and if the radio wants to stay afloat (and believe me it does) then it must keep up. The reality is that the notion of the ‘visual generation’ is very much real. We are surrounded by the media and it’s images 24/7 and we in a way expect it. Publishing recordings from interviews with celebrities on the online platform, is a good way of satisfying and attracting the new, more visual, younger audiences to a traditional medium without changing it fundamentally. What the convergence means for the audience is that it gets more content and more than one way of consuming it which creates options and perhaps a sense of identity; are you a consumer of the audio, the video or both?

Middle Earth.

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One of the most famous movie series is of course, the good old, The Hobbit, with its sequel Lord of the Rings, which is in my opinion, a great example of media convergence.  Both based on two of the best sellers books of all time, J.R.R Tolkien, published these masterpieces between 1937 and 1955.

But this saga is not just books and movie, it transcended into web sites, mugs, games, loads of rings, armours, cups and everything you could ever dream of on both official merchandise sites Hobbit and Tolkien, and soon to be revealed theme parkThe Battle for Middle Earth, the game developed for the franchise, does an excellent job of this. The player can explore the conventional story line, but there are also new things to explore, little things mentioned only in passing in the original novel.

Thanks to Tolkien and the adaptation of Peter Jackson, who made an remarkably accurate representation and transition from paper and imagination to real life.

These stories have circled around the world and sparked creativity in thousands of children, me included. But I do believe the adventure that it holds to be timeless. And as the #1 rule of the fandom goes : ‘ A fan is never late, nor are they early. They arrive precisely when they mean to.’

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Do you agree that high-grossed series are perfect examples of media convergence? Are you a tolkinier?